Thursday, April 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Remove hurdle to children's health care

Uninsured children who are legal Florida residents shouldn't have to wait five years to see a doctor. Legislators should remove roadblocks to the state's subsidized health insurance programs and allow low-income immigrant children immediate access. Anything less punishes law-abiding families and pushes them to seek care in emergency rooms, where taxpayers will foot the bill.

More than 2.1 million children are enrolled in Florida KidCare, which includes Medicaid and subsidized insurance programs, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. Nearly 26,000 children could be helped by KidCare immediately if legislators took advantage of a change in federal law and adjusted Florida law to eliminate the five-year wait for children who were born outside the United States and are residing here legally.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, has been received favorably in committees. But its hardest challenge might be its cost. Florida would need to put up $20 million to match federal funds to cover the $69 million price tag. But that's matching money the state isn't drawing down now from Washington that could help make Florida's children healthier and take the burden off emergency care.

The Legislature should follow the lead of 26 states and the District of Columbia and eliminate the five-year waiting period for children's health insurance for legal immigrants.

Uninsured children who are legal Florida residents shouldn't have to wait five years to see a doctor. Legislators should remove roadblocks to the state's subsidized health insurance programs and allow low-income immigrant children immediate access. Anything less punishes law-abiding families and pushes them to seek care in emergency rooms, where taxpayers will foot the bill.

More than 2.1 million children are enrolled in Florida KidCare, which includes Medicaid and subsidized insurance programs, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. Nearly 26,000 children could be helped by KidCare immediately if legislators took advantage of a change in federal law and adjusted Florida law to eliminate the five-year wait for children who were born outside the United States and are residing here legally.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, has been received favorably in committees. But its hardest challenge might be its cost. Florida would need to put up $20 million to match federal funds to cover the $69 million price tag. But that's matching money the state isn't drawing down now from Washington that could help make Florida's children healthier and take the burden off emergency care.

The Legislature should follow the lead of 26 states and the District of Columbia and eliminate the five-year waiting period for children's health insurance for legal immigrants.

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Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the state’s fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the Nove...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18
Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Any movement on modernizing local transportation is welcome, even small steps like the million dollars the state recently approved to design a Tampa Bay regional transit plan.But the region won’t make any progress on transportation, its single most p...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Editorial: Fight harder on citrus greening

A new report by scientists advising the federal government finds no breakthrough discovery for managing citrus greening, a chronic disease killing Florida’s citrus industry. This should be a wake-up call to bring greater resources to the fight.The re...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Editorial: Floridians should focus more on health

A new snapshot of the nation’s health shows a mixed picture for Florida and the challenges that residents and the health care community face in improving the quality of life.Americans are living longer, exercising more and doing better at managing th...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Gov. Rick Scott kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign last week by reciting tired lines about career politicians and mischaracterizing himself as an outsider. That pitch may have worked during the tea party wave eight years ago, but now the Republican ...
Published: 04/10/18
Updated: 04/13/18